Chapter Five: Creating a Resume, a.k.a “Why I’m Great: A List”

When we last left our hero, Sir Stu had finished his personal statements (statements of purpose, SoPs, essays, or whatever you prefer to call them).

Sir Stu noticed that some of his applications required or recommended a resume, so he set to work creating one. Stu learned from Sir Internet that unlike regular resumes, which mostly list skills and work experience and must be one page in length, graduate school resumes could be more detailed and up to two pages in length. Sir Stu had had many experiences throughout his undergraduate career, but what things should he include on the resume?

“The first thing to include would be any relevant work and/or volunteer experience,” said Sir Internet, and Sir Common Sense. Luckily, Stu had spent his summer and fall (and perhaps year(s) prior) gathering such experience! Stu made sure to emphasize anything that he had done related to working with people, whether it be teaching, tutoring, volunteering in a hospital, being a receptionist in a clinic – even retail work! Basically, anything that showed that Stu had effective people skills was a plus. He also emphasized any work he had done that required a great deal of planning, organization, and critical thinking, such as conducting research, and any leadership positions he had held in clubs or student organizations. For each of these experiences, Stu included a small summary of his work.

On the topic of clubs and organizations, Sir Stu made sure to list any extracurricular activities he participated in, and for how long. He didn’t list that one week he was in jousting club – but everything else that he had done, like the two semesters he spent on the debate team, or the year he was a conversation partner for ESL students, or his membership in NSSLHA (National Student Speech Language Hearing Association) were fair game for his resume.

Sir Stu also made sure to list any awards he had won and any major achievements he had achieved, like the grant he received to conduct his own research, his academic excellence award, and that time he presented at a conference.

Like he would on a typical resume, Sir Stu also included a list of skills that he had acquired throughout the years, such as fluency in a foreign language, ability to use various computer software, knowledge of statistics, and so on.

Even if he didn’t have much to write about in the way of experience or extracurriculars or awards or skills, Sir Stu took what he did have and made the best of it, emphasizing the positives of his experiences and his potential for success in a graduate program.

When Sir Stu had finished writing his resume, he proofread it for any errors. Once it was error-free, he took his resume in hand and went straight to Rutgers Career Services, which had drop-in times for resume critiques and appointments with career counselors who could help him out. He took the advice he received and edited his resume accordingly, until it was the best that it could be.

Stu had finished his resume, saved it in an easily accessible format (like PDF), and submitted it to his schools at last. 

What would Sir Stu do next?
Read on tomorrow, as the journey continues.


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